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Working with raw photos

From: Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

Video: Working with raw photos

When you shoot JPEGs with a digital camera, a lot of the photo processing goes on inside the camera before you ever get to see the photo. By contrast, when you shoot RAW, you're the one who does the processing. What you get from your camera is raw data that's unprocessed, the conceptual equivalent of an original negative in film photography. The big advantage of shooting RAW is that you get to control the processing yourself in the Adobe Camera RAW Editor that comes with Elements. Another advantage of RAW files is that they have a higher bit depth, in other words more color information in them, than do 8 bit JPEGs so there is more latitude to edit RAW files.

Working with raw photos

When you shoot JPEGs with a digital camera, a lot of the photo processing goes on inside the camera before you ever get to see the photo. By contrast, when you shoot RAW, you're the one who does the processing. What you get from your camera is raw data that's unprocessed, the conceptual equivalent of an original negative in film photography. The big advantage of shooting RAW is that you get to control the processing yourself in the Adobe Camera RAW Editor that comes with Elements. Another advantage of RAW files is that they have a higher bit depth, in other words more color information in them, than do 8 bit JPEGs so there is more latitude to edit RAW files.

Keep in mind that not all cameras will shoot RAW although more and more do offer a RAW option these days. So if you are interested in shooting RAW, check your camera manual and see if your camera will shoot RAW. When you bring RAW files from your camera into the Organizer, you'll see a special extension on the file name that represents the flavor of RAW photo to your particular camera takes. This file is pots.CRW and it was taken with a Canon camera, so it has the extension .CRW. But if for example I had taken this with a Nikon, it would have the extension .NEF.

To open a RAW file from here in the Organizer, I'll work the same way that I would with the JPEG. Here I'm going to select these two RAW files by clicking on the first, and then holding the Ctrl key and clicking on the second and then I'm going to go up to the Fix menu, click the arrow there, and choose Full Photo Edit. But notice that the files haven't open in the Full Edit workspace that you're used to seeing. Instead both files are open here in the special Camera RAW editor. I happened to be using Camera RAW 5.4, but from time to time newer versions of Camera RAW are made available by Adobe online and those can be downloaded and installed and used here in Elements.

In the Camera RAW Editor on the left there is a column that shows a thumbnail of each open image and the one with the border is currently showing here in the editing area. Over on the right are column of settings that you can use to control the way that this photo will be processed. There are several different groups of settings organized under these three tabs. Currently I'm in the first tab, the Basic tab. At the top of this column is a histogram. This is similar to the histogram that I showed you earlier in the Histogram panel and in the Levels Adjustments panel.

A histogram is a diagram of possible tones that could be in the image from bright whites on the right to dark shadows on the left. And a mound of colors out of white here is actually a compressed group of bars that represents the actual tones in this image. It's useful to keep your eye on this histogram as you manipulate the controls down here in this column to get a visual representation of what you're doing to the tones in the image. The first control here is White Balance. White Balance controls the overall color temperature of the photo from warm to cool.

Regardless of what White Balance your camera may have used when you shot the photo, you can change the White Balance here in the Adobe Camera RAW Editor and by doing that you can set the mood for the picture by changing the lighting. The way that I approach White Balance is usually to start with this menu of White Balance Presets. I open the menu and I just go through the entries here, keeping my eye on the photo to see which one I like best. In this case I'm going to go with Daylight. Once I've chosen a preset to start with, I'll come to Temperature and the Tint sliders and tweak those to get just the White Balance that I want.

So in this case I might move the Temperature slider a little bit to the left to make the image a little bluer and I might move the Tint slider a little bit to the right to add a little magenta. And this is completely a subjective decision. Beneath this line there is a button marked Auto. I could click the Auto button and that would have Elements set all of the controls for me, using its best guess for each setting, but the whole point of working with RAW photos is that I can do the processing myself. So I prefer and I suggest you to adjust the controls manually.

I'll start here with the Exposure slider, which sets the white point of the photo. Dragging it to the right makes the light part of the photo lighter, and dragging it to the left makes those areas darker. I'm going to put it somewhere just about there. Then I'll go down to the Blacks slider down here. If I drag to the right, I'm pushing more tones to black. That was a little bit too far and you'll notice when you look at the image that it pops a little more than it did a moment ago. I'll go up to the Preview and I'll uncheck.

So that's where I started, and that's where I am now. What I've done is by varying the Exposure and the Blacks sliders I've increase the contrast in the image expanding the range of tones across the tonal range here. And then there's a Brightness slider here, which affects the overall brightness of the image. Primarily the midtones. So if I want to darken it, I'll drag that slider to the left. If I want to brighten the entire image I'll drag it to the right. I usually don't use the Contrast slider. Instead I rely on the Exposure and Blacks slider to affect contrast, because those sliders give me more control over the result.

The Clarity slider comes in really handy for restoring any sharpness or loss of detail that might have occurred as a result of the other tonal adjustments that I have made. I'm going to drag Clarity to the right, and as I do, you'll see the detail in the image get more crisp and defined. If I want to make the colors in the image look more vibrant, I have two choices. I can use the Saturation slider. If I drag that to the right, it often over saturates some of the colors in the image. So I'm not going to use it this time. I'll put that back to 0 by typing 0 in the Saturation field.

Instead I'm going to use the Vibrance slider. The Vibrance slider does a more subtle job of increasing saturation, as I have done here, or decreasing saturation. It affects only the intensity of the unsaturated colors in the image. So if I do increase Vibrance as I did here, I end up saturating just the duller colors. So that's it for the controls in this column. Now there are a couple of other tabs here at the top of the column. I'm going to click the Detail tab where I have some controls for sharpening the image. If I plan to open this image into Photoshop and do some editing there, then I'll usually won't do any sharpening here in Camera RAW.

I'll drag these sliders over to left all the way and then after I've edited the image in Elements, I'll do my sharpening there using either the Unsharp Mask or the Adjust Sharpness adjustments as I showed you in the last movie. But I'll just leave those at their defaults for now. And down here are two sliders for reducing digital noise in a photo. The Luminance slider for reducing grayscale noise, and the Color slider for reducing digital noise. I don't see much noise in this image, so I'm just going to leave those at their defaults as well. Later when I'm in Photoshop, if I find that there is some noise, I can reduce it there using the Reduce Noise control that I showed you in an earlier movie.

Down here at the bottom of Adobe Camera RAW, there is a Depth menu. From here I can choose whether to bring the image into Photoshop either with all 16 bits that it currently contains or whether to bring it in as a smaller 8 bit image. I'm going to leave that set to 16 bit so that I have as much color information to work with as possible when I open the file in Photoshop. But if I knew I was just going to do something with the file like attach it to an e-mail then I might reduce the depth to eight bits, so the file is smaller in Photoshop.

When I'm done editing the image in Adobe Camera RAW, I have a couple of choices. One thing I can do is save the image with a small text file called an XMP file that contains instructions to process the image with the settings that I have chosen here, and then when I reopen it in Camera RAW those settings will come back. So I'm going to do that with this image by clicking the Save Image button down here, and I'll just click Save to save it in the default location and with all the default settings. Now I'm going to select the other image that's open here by clicking on it in the left-hand column.

Now just assume that I've made some changes to the controls over here. For example I might change the White Balance to Daylight. I'll leave everything else at its defaults including the bit depth of 16 bits per channel. And rather than just Save this image with these settings, I'm going to open it into Elements Full Edit workspace for further editing by clicking the Open Image button here, and that opens the photo here in the Editor processed with the settings that I've chosen in Adobe Camera RAW. Why would I bring it into Elements? Because here I can do things to the image that I can't do in the Adobe Camera RAW interface, like add layers, add type, add graphics with one of the Shape tools.

Do some retouching, make a collage with another image, add filters, and more. One thing to keep in mind is that because I brought the image in at 16-bit depth instead of 8-bit depth, there are some features that won't be available to use here in Elements Editor. For example if I go to the Filter menu, notice that some of the filters are grayed out. In addition, if I try to save this as a JPEG from here by going to File and then Save As, the JPEG format is not available in this menu in the Save As dialog box, because you can't save a 16 bit file as a JPEG.

JPEGs are only 8 bit. So I'm going to cancel out of the Save As dialog box and show you that if I do want to save as JPEG or if I want to use some of the unavailable commands here in Elements Editor, I can convert the image to 8-bit, by going to the Image menu, going down to Mode, and choosing 8-bits per channel. Now that it's an 8-bit image, I can go to the File menu > Save As and the JPEG format is available to me. If you have opportunity to shoot RAW with your camera, I suggest you do it, so that you have the flexibility to process the image yourself in Adobe Camera RAW taking advantage of all the exciting features there.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

106 video lessons · 8499 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 10m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 35s
    3. Launching the Welcome screen
      3m 12s
    4. Touring Elements
      4m 20s
  2. 29m 45s
    1. Working with catalogs
      3m 16s
    2. Getting photos from your hard drive
      2m 49s
    3. Changing thumbnail display options
      4m 35s
    4. Getting photos from a camera or card
      9m 43s
    5. Getting photos from a CD/DVD or an external drive
      4m 46s
    6. Getting photos from a scanner
      4m 36s
  3. 43m 15s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 44s
    2. Viewing photos
      5m 11s
    3. Selecting photos
      2m 58s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 39s
    5. Renaming photos
      2m 7s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      2m 0s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      5m 24s
    8. Stacking photos
      8m 9s
    9. Moving files
      4m 43s
    10. Backing up catalogs
      4m 20s
  4. 52m 4s
    1. Applying keyword tags
      8m 33s
    2. Finding photos by keyword tags
      3m 41s
    3. Finding photos with the Keyword Tag Cloud
      1m 56s
    4. Applying Smart Tags
      4m 29s
    5. Automatically tagging people in photos
      7m 54s
    6. Applying star ratings
      2m 48s
    7. Organizing photos in albums
      4m 10s
    8. Organizing photos in Smart Albums
      6m 44s
    9. Finding photos with Text Search
      4m 31s
    10. Finding photos from the Find menu
      5m 10s
    11. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 8s
  5. 29m 18s
    1. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      11m 12s
    2. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 10s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 22s
    4. Using Date View
      3m 41s
    5. Mapping photos
      4m 53s
  6. 56m 46s
    1. Applying Photo Fix options in the Organizer
      8m 22s
    2. Touring the Quick Fix workspace in the Editor
      6m 12s
    3. Applying Quick Fix controls
      11m 10s
    4. Using Quick Fix tools
      11m 2s
    5. Working in Guided Edit in the Editor
      4m 45s
    6. Fixing group shots in Guided Edit
      5m 57s
    7. Applying the Scene Cleaner in Guided Edit
      9m 18s
  7. 1h 12m
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      5m 5s
    2. Opening files in Full Edit
      2m 13s
    3. Working with tabbed documents
      6m 57s
    4. Using tools
      6m 11s
    5. Setting editing preferences
      4m 22s
    6. Adjusting color settings
      4m 18s
    7. Using Undo History
      5m 56s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 30s
    9. Creating a blank file
      5m 58s
    10. Photo resizing and resolution
      9m 59s
    11. Using the Recompose tool
      3m 8s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 49s
    13. Saving files
      7m 47s
  8. 17m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      3m 28s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      4m 51s
    3. Combining images with layer masks
      9m 17s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Understanding selections
      2m 27s
    2. Manual selection tools
      7m 6s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 27s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 54s
  10. 1h 0m
    1. Cropping and straightening
      3m 49s
    2. Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment
      2m 54s
    3. Applying adjustment layers
      7m 53s
    4. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      4m 12s
    5. Merging multiple exposures
      6m 33s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 54s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      3m 39s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 21s
    9. Correcting skin tone
      2m 34s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      4m 4s
    11. Sharpening photos
      7m 42s
    12. Working with raw photos
      9m 52s
  11. 24m 50s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tool
      7m 52s
    2. Using the Detail Smart Brush tool
      4m 26s
    3. Dodging and burning
      2m 18s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      5m 17s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      3m 41s
    6. Removing red-eye
      1m 16s
  12. 31m 3s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 8s
    2. Adding effects
      3m 16s
    3. Running automated actions
      1m 51s
    4. Using layer styles
      6m 6s
    5. Using shapes
      8m 12s
    6. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      3m 13s
    7. Converting color to black and white
      3m 17s
  13. 9m 29s
    1. Creating text
      5m 8s
    2. Editing text
      2m 59s
    3. Warping text
      1m 22s
  14. 38m 50s
    1. Making a photo book
      8m 26s
    2. Making a photo collage
      9m 0s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      11m 25s
    4. Stitching a photo panorama
      4m 3s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      5m 56s
  15. 33m 54s
    1. Printing photos
      2m 58s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages
      4m 58s
    3. Sending photos by email and Photo Mail
      5m 57s
    4. Burning photos to CD/DVD
      1m 17s
    5. Ordering prints and books
      1m 59s
    6. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 15s
    7. Sharing photos online at Photoshop.com
      7m 40s
    8. Backing up and synchronizing online
      3m 40s
    9. Getting inspiration from Adobe.com
      2m 10s
  16. 26s
    1. Goodbye
      26s

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